Here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office, some of the most common questions we get from patients are about workouts and exercise. We all need to be exercising at least 30 minutes per day, or more. Plain and simple.
However, we know that working out can be hard. It’s hard to find the time in the day. Gym memberships can be expensive. And sometimes it’s just hard to get motivated wo work out after a long day of work.
Then Coronavirus hit.
And all of a sudden, those gyms we never had time for closed. Those hectic schedules got blown to bits. And all of our general motivation went out the window.
Suddenly, we all needed to find a way to workout, relieve stress and stay healthy—while stuck at home with our entire family. Just when we thought working out couldn’t get more complicated.
Working out at home seems really convenient, but in reality—it’s as difficult as working at home. It can be hard to stay motivated and focused and hard to get that same experience you get from a class or a trainer at the gym. This is where workout apps come in.
Well, the good news is, there are plenty of fitness apps that are taking note of all of the people who need a way to workout at home. And many of these apps are offering access to their programs for free.
So, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest and most popular free workout apps available right now to determine which ones you should try now, and which ones you can keep using when life returns to normal. And we’re starting with the world’s most talked-about workout app, Peloton.
Chances are, you’ve seen the commercials (or the memes) about the spin bike, but Peloton offers even more than spin workouts. Their fitness app has treadmill workouts, body weight workouts, bootcamp style programs, weight training workouts, outdoor running programs and even yoga and stretching. It’s very comprehensive and literally has a little something for everyone.
So, we spent a week doing nothing but Peloton exercises—and decided to divide and conquer to see how many of these workouts we could try, and whether or not this workout lives up to the hype. Of course, we not only wanted to see how good of a workout you could get from Peloton—but whether or not this is a safe workout for our patients to try.
Take a look at our thoughts below!
So, What’s the Cost?
The first thing that many people want to know about the Peloton App, is the cost. Currently, Peloton is offering free access to their app in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. You can try the app, at home, for free for 90 days, as long as you sign up by April 30th. Normally, the app costs $19.49 per month if you do not have the Peloton App or $39 per month if you are using your app through your Peloton bike.
Why the difference?
When you have the bike, you can have access to your personal metrics during class, how you are performing through others, and even race up the leaderboard with other spinners during your live courses. With the general fitness app, you can get the on-demand classes, but won’t be able to race other class members or keep track of your personal metrics.
Then there is the cost of the Peloton bike.
This is where we found the most sticker shock. Here’s how the prices breakdown.
- Basic Package: $2,245 (or $58/month for 39 months with approved financing)
- Includes just your Peloton bike
- Essentials Package: $2,404 (or $62/month for 39 months with approved financing)
- Includes the bike, spin shoes, headphones and one set of weights.
- The Works Package: $2,494 (or $64/month for 39 months with approved financing)
- Includes the bike, shoes, headphones, weights, heart rate monitor and bike mat.
- The Family Package: $2,694 (or $70/month for 39 months with approved financing)
- Includes the bike, two pairs of shoes, two water bottles, two heart rate monitors, two sets of headphones, a bike mat and one set of weights.
There is no denying that this is a lot of money, especially when you are only getting a bike and one type of workout. We highly recommend doing more than just spinning for your overall workout routine. Outdoor exercise, walking, strength training and stretching and yoga are all other important elements to a comprehensive workout routine.
Peloton bikes are expensive.
So, we found a backup solution, and purchased the Sunny Flywheel Bike on Amazon.
It is super quiet, was delivered in two days and is easy to move around. Plus, there is a spot for your phone or tablet so you can easily stream classes. Here are a few other Peloton bikes that you can use with the app, and buy for a fraction of the cost. All of these are well-below $750.
- Diamondback Fitness Indoor Cycle Magnetic Trainer
- Schwinn Indoor Cycling Bike
- MaxKare Magnetic Exercise Bike
Keep in mind, you will need to be able to stream the app through your phone or tablet and rest it on your spin bike handles to see your workout.
Our Favorite Workouts
We tried to do a little bit of everything with the Peloton App to really get the full user experience. Trust us, we crammed as many workouts in a week in as possible. And overall, here were some of our favorites we really recommend.
30 Minute HIIT Ride with Leanne Hainsby
Pros: The music was up-beat but not overwhelming. Leanne is fun, she is in it with you and is working out hard as well, the workout was challenging but could be modified up or down as well.
- This was one of our favorite 30 minute rides, but it’s all high-energy sprints, so it may not be the best for anyone who gets bored when spinning.
Overall Rating: 4/5
20 Minute HIIT Workout with Robin Arzon
Pros: It was difficult and is designed to push your limit. Even virtually she pushes you farther with how you should feel. She’s a great motivator and this workout was HARD. No bike necessary, just high intensity workouts. You’ll be drenched in sweat after just 20 minutes.
- Keep in mind this workout is NSFW (or kiddos) with cursing and language but she does warn that before it starts!
Overall Rating: 5/5
60 Minute Club Bangers Ride with Alex Toussaint
Pros: This class has GREAT music and with a 60 minute ride you definitely get a sweat going. It also has a solid warmup and cool down. Alex is the perfect instructor if you want someone that will push you and motivate you. This ride is hard, but has just the right amount of fun (without too much dancing)
Overall Rating: 5/5
One of our biggest takeaways from using the Peloton app was that the instructor had a lot to do with our overall experience. A lot of these instructors have big personalities and won’t exactly feel like the right fit for everyone.
A Note on Safety With Peloton Workouts
Of course, we wouldn’t let you get through a whole review without talking about safety with these workouts. While a great workout can be hard, it shouldn’t hurt and you shouldn’t put unnecessary stress on your body.
Be careful with those long, arduous climbs on a stationary bike. There are some serious concerns over postural stress when spinning, particularly when you add more resistance.
There is no such thing as “perfect posture” on a bike, because it is not inherently designed for our bipedal (two-legged standing) posture. However, there are some basics to be aware of.
- Set up the seat so that when you are riding, your knees are not coming higher than 90 degrees. It shouldn’t feel like your knees are about to hit your elbows. In this position you should be able to get the necessary power and strength for your ride.
- Position the handle bars so that you are able to sit with your arms locked out and your chest projected forward.
Overall, we recommend spacing out your long rides or doing quick rides supplemented with walking, strength training, yoga and other more posture friendly workouts. This is one of the keys to making sure you are not adding another postural stressor to your life, especially if you already spend most of your day sitting.
Outside of your posture, it is important to keep your cardiovascular abilities in mind. When you do a cardiovascular workout, you want to put a little stress your heart and your corresponding cardiovascular system.
This means increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. When your chest is pounding a bit—that’s good, your heart is working and your heart rate is going up. Breathing heavy is good too. This means you are increasing oxygen demand by working your muscles (more specifically the big ones in your legs). You may notice when you work the big muscles such as the ones in the legs, you tend to breathe harder and sweat more, then with other workouts. This is normal!
Know your limits, not the limits you had when you were an all-star in high school. You need to listen to your body and know when to stop. Luckily, we are more than happy to tell you when you’re doing too much and to do our best to get you back to your high-school peak!
Overall Pros of the Peloton App
Overall, with several of our MCO family members using the Peloton app, we came up with a list of our biggest “pros” of the Peloton app.
- There are A LOT of workouts. If you’re someone who never wants to do the same workout twice, then Peloton is the perfect option. There are over 10,000 on-demand workouts and new ones being added every day. Plus, the app keeps track of what workouts you’ve completed, in case you don’t want to do repeats.
- It is really easy to use. The last thing you want to worry about when trying to fit a workout in, is a complicated interface. The Peloton app is simple, straightforward and super easy. You can search by type of workout, length, instructor and more.
- There are 10 different types of classes. We tried one from each type, and while the cycling classes are clearly Peloton’s bread and butter, there are some other really great workouts as well. You can choose from:
- Running (treadmill)
- Outdoor (jogging)
- The instructors are great. Full disclosure, there were some instructors that focus a little more on their personality and dancing then we like (we’re looking at you Cody Rigsby), but then again, he’s a professional dancer, and really good at it, so we can’t blame him. The point is, there’s an instructor for every preference so you can easily find someone that motivates
- There are plenty of short workouts. Sometimes, you want to workout for an hour, other times, you just need a quick, hard 20-minute sweat session—and Peloton has it all! Whether you want a 10-minute ab burner or a 60-minute spin class, it is easy to find a workout that works in your schedule.
Cons of the Peloton App
No app is ever perfect and Peloton was no exception. While we enjoyed this app, overall, here were some of our biggest “cons” from our Peloton experience.
- You have to know the Peloton lingo. This was one of the first things we noticed when using the spin and treadmill workouts. If you don’t have a Peloton brand product and haven’t listened to their tutorial on their lingo (i.e. the word cadence instead of speed), it can be a bit overwhelming.
- You can’t see the time elapsed at the bottom of the screen. Ok, maybe this is a little nit-picky, but we like to know how much time we have left in a workout—and you can’t see the time left when you’re in the middle of a class.
- You can’t stream from the app to your TV. This was a bit frustrating if you’re trying to cast the HIIT and strength workouts from your app to your TV. You need to have a smart TV with the Peloton app in order to see your workouts on the big screen.
- Not a lot about form and safety. As chiropractors, obviously one of the first things we think about with workouts is safety and injury prevention. There are a lot of classes that are easy enough for beginners, but there weren’t as many modifications or emphasis on form or working around an injury. This is something we’ve seen programs like BeachBody do a great job with, but something to keep remember when working out with Peloton. You should be able to get a hard workout that still gives you tips on how to modify certain exercises to fit your needs.
- That commercial. We still haven’t forgotten…
So, Should You Give the Peloton App A Try?
In simple terms, yes.
Overall, here at McAuliffe Chiropractic Office, we loved the Peloton App. We felt like this program not only works for those who love to spin, but for people who want to try out new treadmill, weight training, HIIT and bodyweight workouts at home. While Dr. Terence loved some of the HIIT and bootcamp workouts, his wife Lisa preferred the spin classes and outdoor running workouts. The great part is, there is literally something for everyone, so the whole household can use the app.
Right now, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Peloton is offering free access to their app for anyone looking to stay fit at home. This is a great deal for access to so many different types of workouts. However, keep in mind, when this free offering period is over, the app will go back up to $19.49/month for non-Peloton bike owners and $39/month for those with the bike, which is pricey as far as workout apps go.
If you want to take advantage of this free offer to see if you want to keep paying for Peloton in the future, now is a great time to try it out.
As with any new workout program, we suggest you consult with your doctor before trying something new. Please feel free to ask our doctors in office or through a phone consultation before trying this workout. If you are feeling pain, soreness or worried you may have an injury, please stop working out and give our office a call immediately at 301-776-0755 or book an appointment online today.